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IT Systems Management Exploiting the Infrastructure for Business Value

Apr 08, 2008

The market in Systems Management has evolved over recent years, the leading vendors have all integrated the ability to monitor and manage a variety of infrastructure components, from virtual servers to network switches, in to their solutions. The other major transformation over recent years has been the acceptance that IT departments need standardised process and procedures so that the delivery of IT as a service can be managed more effectively. This IT Service Management focus has seen many Systems Management vendors use the ITIL classifications when describing capabilities. However, this Report is focused on the Systems Management capabilities and not Service Management, and as a result we have identified that only seven major vendors have the breath of coverage to be included in this Report.

Key Findings
* Systems management tools are changing IT from being mainly reactive in its response to being more proactive and business focused.
* Simplification of the complexity now inherent in the various infrastructure components is a key operational requirement from any systems management capability.
* Behavioural analysis will be the next big technology advancement in the systems management market.
* Limited automated data centre operations are possible with the current crop of systems management tools, but organisations are not ready for the leap of faith required.
* Integrated Business Service Management (BSM) provides the business prioritisation needed for any systems management capability to demonstrate organisational benefit.
* Power and cooling management of the infrastructure is becoming a significant new requirement.
* Managing both the virtualised environment and physical environment from the same systems management tool is now an essential capability.
* Organisations are demanding vendors provide interoperability with third-party products.
* IT Service Management (ITSM) is now intrinsically linked to systems management and provides a structured approach to managing the IT infrastructure. 
*  With the Small- to Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) sector increasingly reliant on IT due to the growth of the on-line business model it now requires the same ability as large enterprises to ensure services are available to meet customer demands.
* Existing skills and knowledge often drive the organisation’s technology selection process.


Report Synopsis
Traditionally data centres have been managed in silo'ed teams dictated by the historic differences between the technologies such as network, storage, UNIX servers, Windows systems, and mainframes; these silos have generated highly specialist resources and management tools, which do not easily integrate to provide an end-to-end perspective of the service IT is delivering to the business.In fact these silo'ed teams often drive the technology selection process in organisations, which to a large extent is governed by the existing skills within the IT department. This approach has created tensions between the requirements of the business users, and the capabilities to manage the technology of the IT department. The result of this silo'ed approach is that IT resources are locked in to technologies, and organisations face expensive retraining or new hiring cost if technologies new to the organisation are selected. The new more holistic approach to Systems Management is that of simplification, so that the IT department can manage the technology stack at a higher level, and therefore enable it to manage a wider range of technologies more efficiently.The market in Systems Management has evolved over recent years, the leading vendors have all integrated the ability to monitor and manage a variety of infrastructure components, from virtual servers to network switches, in to their solutions.The other major transformation over recent years has been the acceptance that IT departments need standardised process and procedures so that the delivery of IT as a service can be managed more effectively. This IT Service Management focus has seen many Systems Management vendors use the ITIL® classifications when describing capabilities. However, this Report is focused on the Systems Management capabilities and not Service Management, and as a result we have identified that only seven major vendors have the breath of coverage to be included in this Report.


Nick Wakeman

Nick Wakeman's Business Beat